Even though we try our best to not... sometimes it still happens. You probably don't realize you're even doing it, let alone that it might be offensive or hurtful toward someone you work with.
Something like shying away from an interaction because of someone's gender. Maybe opting to do a task yourself because someone might be slower at it because of their age. These actions are called micro-behaviors and with the right mindset you can help minimize or even eliminate them from your subconscious.
Valerie Alexander, Author and former CEO of Goalkeeper, gave a great Tedtalk on exactly how this mindset happens and some ways that you can strive to overcoming it.
1. Focus On Your Words
When going throughout your day make a point to really think through the words you are choosing to you. Alexander mentions that the only way we will all reach equality is if we all try to improve our own behavior.
2. Focus On Your Actions
A simple way to focus on your actions is consider if you would do the same action with anyone of any age or background. For example she mentions leaving a meeting. If you were a man and you were leaving a meeting with a man would you put your hand on their shoulder? If no, then do not do it to anyone.
3. Focus On Your Thoughts
Alexander asks to visualize a situation. For example, you are at dinner and you see a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Are they both female? both black? These sorts of visualizations are caused by a portion of your brain that just naturally goes to the most common thing you know. You can work on adjusting that by taking time to think about other alternatives. If you are about to meet a new employee who will be shadowing you for the day visualize all the options. It could be a woman, someone older, etc. Allowing your brain to think of more than once option will slowly train your brain to avoid the micro-behavior.
So try these out. All we can do is start each day trying to make it better than the day before. This applies to your product quality, safety at work, respecting other and the list could really go on and on. If you are in charge of HR, the CEO, or even a manager of safety we have training that covers exactly this topic, Consciously Overcoming Unconscious Bias.